Tooth loss can be caused by periodontitis, an infectious disease that causes teeth to slowly loosen by weakening the jawbone. Almost half of all adults suffer from periodontitis to some degree and it is therefore considered an endemic disease.
“When the alveolar bone (the part of the jaw where the tooth is rooted) has started to deteriorate, and the tooth becomes loose there is no other option but to insert an implant. But even the alveolar around the implant can get broken down in the same way as it does with tooth loss – causing the implant to become loose too. This can result in a disease called peri-implantitis, which can lead to significant problems”, says Patric Stafshede, CEO of Umeå-based Omnio, an alumni company from Umeå Biotech Incubator.
Omnio has developed a drug candidate based on the protein plasminogen that can counteract tooth loss. Studies have shown that plasminogen can also stimulate damaged alveolar bone to grow back.
“No one has succeeded in doing this before. Our treatment should not only be able to help patients suffering from tooth loss but also encourage the alveolar bone to heal in people affected by peri-implantitis”, says Patric Stafshede.
The project is being conducted in collaboration with the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Umeå University and the Orthodontic Clinic at the University Hospital of Umeå in northern Sweden.
Together the project group has been granted SEK 3 million over two years from Swelife, which is financed, among others, by Vinnova. The project aims to develop treatments for tooth loss as well as an implant model for testing substances. The Swelife programme is funding half the project costs, which means a total of SEK 6 million is being invested over a two-year period.
“When the project is completed, we hope to be able to start clinical studies”, says Patric Stafshede.
His long-term goal is for the treatment to be able to be applied in the form of an ointment or toothpaste.
“Then the drug could become available all over the world and help patients in areas where there is no access to advanced dental care”.
About Swelife – working for a more competitive life science system in Sweden
Swelife supports collaboration within academia, industry and healthcare, with the goal of strengthening life science in Sweden and improving public health. It is a strategic innovation programme funded by the Swedish Government via the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova, and by the programme’s partners.
For more information, please contact:
Patric Stafshede, vd på Omnio
Mobil: 070-688 36 55